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Elisabeth (Gertraud Henriette Marie E.) Heims

Katharina-von-Bora-Str. 10

Date of death:
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Als Jüdinnen und Juden Verfolgte
Erinnerungszeichen (Stele)

Elisabeth Heims came from a Jewish professorial family, the Heymanns, from Berlin. In 1905, the family left the Jewish community and later changed the Jewish-sounding last name to Heims. Presumably in 1923, Elisabeth met the 20 years older business attorney Alexander Dünkelsbühler from Munich. Although he had been separated from his wife Eleonore for quite some time, she refused to grant him a divorce, and he and Elisabeth Heims were unable to marry. In the face of social convention, however, the two did move into together to Arcisstraße 14 (today Katharina-von-Bora-Straße 10). After the Nazi seizure of power the couple’s life changed dramatically. Because he had served as a soldier in the First World War, Alexander Dünkelsbühler was initially allowed to continue practicing as an attorney. But the boycott on Jewish businesses took its toll. Revenues from his practice declined and declined, as more and more of his clients sought “Aryan” attorneys. After the proclamation of the “Nuremberg Race Laws” Alexander Dünkelsbühler lost all hope and took his own life on September 24, 1935. In 1938, Elisabeth Heims joined the Quakers, whose community helped Jews flee from Germany. Elisabeth also helped where she could, in addition to taking in the elderly and people in need of care. Starting in July 1941, she had to perform forced labor at the Flachsröste (flax factory) Lohhof. After being made deputy camp director, she was in charge above all of the younger, Jewish women there. She decided not to take the chance to emigrate to safety, even though her brother Eduard, who lived in the US, had procured her the necessary documents in 1941. With the words, “How are the young supposed to accept their destiny if we old ones run away,” she tore up these papers. On November 20, 1941 Elisabeth Heims was deported to Kaunas, Lithuania, where after five days she was murdered.(text Ingrid Reuther, editor C. Fritsche, translation J. Chase)

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